Towards a more loving resistance…

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : September 13, 2007

!! Warning: Some profanity ahead !!

image A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a young agnostic anarchist about protesting.  This young man has been a part of many protests.  Few of them, he acknowledged, accomplished much of anything.  His one shimmering example of successful protest was a protest against a particular fast food chain.  The protesters were calling for better wages for the agricultural workers who provide many of the ingredients used in their hamburgers and sandwiches.  The atmosphere for this protest was jovial.  The protesters enjoyed one another’s company, enjoyed what they were doing.  It wasn’t an angry protest.

At this point in our conversation, I pointed out that the best-known resistors (Gandhi, Dr. King–even Jesus) claimed not only to love those to whom they were advocating, but also those against whom they were resisting.  Dr. King claimed to love the Klan and Gandhi claimed to love the British Imperialists.  And we know that Jesus loved his enemies.  Righteous resistance recognizes that it isn’t only the marginalized that are oppressed.  The oppressors are in bondage as well.  And resistance ought to seek the liberation of both oppressed and oppressor.  If this is true (and I believe it is), then we must engage in resistance in such a way that it communicates love to our “enemies.” 

If we are called to love our enemies, then you can’t say “I love you” and “Fuck you” with the same breath.   You can’t backhand someone in love.  Nor can you mock someone in love.  Mocking and violence are actions of hatred. 

Why is it, then, that I see so much open mockery between “emerging” types and conservative evangelicals on the web these days?  I honestly think that the vitriol and hate flows more one way than the other, but folks in both “sides” have demonstrated a lack of love.

Why is it, then, that I hear my conservative Christian friends refer to some of my liberal Christian friends as “a bunch of Marxists” with disdain in their voices.  And why do I hear my liberal Christian friends refer to my conservative Christian friends as “a bunch of hicks” with a smug tone?

We need to learn to resist our enemies as we love them.  This is the way of Christ.  This is true for everything from war protesting to resisting the faulty convictions of our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

And in all things, we need to remember that we wrestle against the Powers, not against flesh and blood.


Her t-shirt spoke of love and peace
and beckoned our thoughts to the wartime deceased
But her face was twisted into a mask of hate
Only the blood of her foes could sate

Her banner gushed with words of love
And another protestor had a sign with a dove
But her own voice told me that her cause wasn’t true
Because her throat screamed out these words: “Fuck you!”

Dr. King and Gandhi, they grimace in their graves
For our own mockery has made us its slaves
Jesus Christ has a flashback to his time on the Cross
And he sheds a heavenly tear for the tragic loss

Of a young woman who should fight for peace
Instead of spreading the infectious disease
Of self-righteous hatred draped in smug
Her false piety makes her a thug

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5 Responses to “Towards a more loving resistance…”

  1. toddh on September 13th, 2007 2:08 pm

    That is a fine post, and a great reminder. It is tough to find an irenic tone among disagreeing Christians. It’s a little too easy to pretend WE are Jesus and THEY are Pharisees, and let ‘em have it.

  2. keith johnson on September 14th, 2007 8:59 am

    Hi T:

    It *is* easy to pretend that WE instead of they are Jesus , but really we are supposed to pretend the other way around.

    your friend

  3. Surly Dave on September 15th, 2007 8:49 am

    I started to comment, and it turned into a post over at my own blog.

  4. amy on September 16th, 2007 7:27 am

    that little girl in the lovedove tee needs a hug. she’s just scared.

  5. markvans on September 17th, 2007 10:33 am

    I agree that she needs a hug, Amy. But I sincerely doubt that she’d take one while she’s protesting. ;)
    Sometimes a rebuke comes before reassurance.

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